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Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: Cases top 30,000 since start

The state was delayed in getting its numbers out on cases and deaths due to coronavirus

NEW ORLEANS — Latest Numbers:

  • 2,094 deaths (up 52)
  • 30,399 total cases  (up 403)
  • 1,465 patients in hospitals (down 47)
  • 187 patients on ventilators (down 7)
  • 64 of 64 parishes reporting cases
  • 20,316 presumed recoveries* Number not updated since May 2
  • 194,672 tests performed

Read yesterday's live blog

Gov. Edwards to announce reopen or extension of Stay at Home next Monday, May 11

Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that he plans to look over the data with advisors and announce on Monday whether he will extend the Stay at Home order or begin Phase 1 of reopening on May 16.

Blue Angels fly over New Orleans, thrill crowds

The Blue Angels, the Navy's elite flying squadron, did a brief but thrilling flyover of the metro New Orleans area and part of the northshore Wednesday. 

The Blue Angels sent out a Tweet Monday that indicated New Orleans would be one of the flyover cities on Wednesday, May 6, to "...salute and thank all healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19."

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City Hall working to fill COVID-19 fueled budget hole

Plummeting sales tax collections are wreaking havoc with the city’s $726 million 2020 budget, leading to a hole that could be as much as $170 million.

Now, the Cantrell administration is hoping to borrow up to $100 million to help plug that hole.

On Tuesday, Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano laid out the idea before the City Council’s Budget Committee, saying that the city is looking for every penny it can right now to avoid furloughs, layoffs and cuts to services.

But he said the need to borrow money is great since the city is losing as much as $22 million a month as many restaurants and businesses in the city remain closed.

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City to put barricades near Bayou St. John to slow down traffic, crowds

The city is preparing to install new barricades limiting vehicles in some high-traffic areas of the city to local traffic and emergency vehicles only as part of an ongoing effort to provide additional space for social distancing. 

According to city's Department of Public Works, there were 117 calls about large gatherings near Bayou St. John between March 20, when the city put its stay at home order in place, and May 3. 

The traffic modifications will be put in place to limit access to the downtown side of Moss Street between Lafitte Avenue and Esplanade Avenue along Bayou St. John. Weather permitting, city officials hope to install the modifications (signs, cones and barricades) Wednesday. 

The city's wider "slow streets initiative" aims to temporarily convert streets with low vehicle traffic to pedestrian and bike walkways to give people more places to exercise while social distancing.

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More than 2 million people were 'Festing in Place' over Jazz Fest weekend

New Orleans radio station WWOZ had more than two million people tune into a two-weekend promotion called 'Festing In Place,' where the station played Jazz Fest performances from the past while encouraging people to dress up, cook up and turn up from the safety of home in lieu of the festival that was canceled because of COVID-19, according to station general manager Beth Arroyo Utterback. 

“From Gentily to Germany from Australia to Siberia,” said Utterback. “People from all over the world literally Jazz Fested in place with us.”

Utterback says they had more than two million listen on the website alone over the two weekends, another 2.5 million on Facebook and 1.5 million on Twitter. More than 1000 sent in pictures of them festing in place, proving our spirit is far more difficult to cancel than the festival.

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Belle Chase High School grads get a unique sent-off after school closes for coronavirus

If birds of a feather flock together, then Belle Chasse Cardinals are connected for life. The senior class never got to spread its wings because senior year came to a sudden halt.

“Not having that closure was really rough. It’s been very difficult, just not knowing what’s going to happen,” said senior and valedictorian Corinne Babin.

Tuesday afternoon about a hundred teachers and staff took action. With costumes, decorations and a socially distanced parking lot, seniors were invited for a Cardinal fly-by, once last chance to say and wave goodbye to the teachers who helped prepare them for flight.

“We just all of a sudden couldn’t come see them anymore but this makes it better to where we actually get a goodbye,” said one senior.

Those goodbye’s began with hellos from principal Jemi Carlone, who came up with the idea and greeting seniors as they drove up.

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Compassion is still key as funerals adapt to COVID-19

A patriarch of New Orleans Jazz, an Orleans Sheriff’s deputy, a former judge, a WWII veteran and a 43-year old mother from St. Gabriel. They’re among the people who’ve died from COVID-19 in Louisiana.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Tiffany Simmons.

Simmons is the general manager at Lake Lawn Metairie funeral home.  In mid- March, they handled their first COVID-related service. Since then Simmons says it’s grown exponentially. 

Part of their duty is to provide serenity during some of the most trying times in people’s lives.  Now they must do it during a time of pandemic.  Seeing so much grief can take its toll.  

Funeral homes must now help grieving families say their last goodbyes with dignity, but also a certain level of safety.

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Clancy: Lawmakers should focus on budget, COVID-19, not bogus reform bills

In a crisis, bad actors often make power grabs, knowing people are distracted. That’s happening right now. State lawmakers are racing to pass so-called “tort reform” bills.

These bills promise to lower your insurance premiums, but backers can’t name a single state where that has happened. Instead of reducing premiums, the bills would increase insurance company profits — by reducing your ability to be made whole after an accident.

One bill sailed out of a Senate committee today, even though the Louisiana State Bar Association opposed it. The Bar’s opposition is a giant red flag.

In a recent poll, only 3% of Louisiana voters said “tort reform” is a priority right now. A combined 69% said the priorities are the budget and COVID-19.

The voters are correct: Lawmakers should focus on the budget and COVID, then go home. And the governor should veto any bogus “reform” bills.

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Generosity more vital than ever as coronavirus changes Giving Tuesday

For years, volunteers with HeartGift have been saving the lives of very sick children. 

They bring impoverished children in from around the world who have heart defects. Doctors at Children’s Hospital make them whole. 

It's something unheard of in some of the countries. Six-year-old Yana from the Philippines was born with four heart defects. She is another HeartGift success story, but the coronavirus changed everyone’s plans. 

Stephanie Berault with HeartGift says first they had to be quarantined after flying through South Korea to get to New Orleans.  

"She was weak. She was frail. She was frequently blue. Her fingernails, her lips would be blue. She knew that she looked different than other children and she knew that she couldn’t do things that other children could do, said Berault, the Executive Director of HeartGift Louisiana.

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Mexican restaurants adapt to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Despite restrictions in place, Mexican restaurants in the New Orleans area were still busy with customers ready to celebrate Cinco De Mayo in a different way.

"Not only is it Cinco de Mayo but it's Taco Tuesday.so we're talking combine these two popular events into one," said Lon Nichols at Felipe's Taqueria. 

That's two reasons to celebrate for Mexican restaurants this year, but since Cinco de Mayo can't look like it has in past years with thick crowds, the experience will have to be from home. 

Felipe's hosted a "Cyber Cinco de Mayo" celebration. On Facebook live from 6-10 p.m., performers who would normally headline each restaurants is performing live online.

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MORE: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

MORE: COVID-19 Timeline: See how fast things have changed in Louisiana

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death. 

Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.

What to do if you are sick:

If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652. 

If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.

How to Prevent the Spread:

The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

Treatments for COVID-19:

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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